Fri, 01 Dec 2000

Rusdihardjo should 'submit evidence'

JAKARTA (JP): Former National Police chief Gen. Rusdihardjo should submit the evidence of President Abdurrahman Wahid's alleged involvement in the Rp 35 billion State Logistics Agency (Bulog) scandal to the police, an officer said on Thursday.

The comments were made following media reports that Rusdihardjo had testified before the House of Representatives' Special Committee on Tuesday, asserting the President's involvement in the scandal.

"If Rusdihardjo really said those things before the committee, he must submit the evidence to police who are investigating the case," National Police Director for General Crimes Brig. Gen. Alex Bambang Riatmodjo told reporters.

Sources close to the committee's investigation told The Jakarta Post on Tuesday that Rusdihardjo testified that Siti Farikha, a Semarang-based businesswoman, had received a Rp 5 billion check from the President. The money was reportedly obtained from Bulog.

The scandal revolves around the disbursement of Rp 35 billion from Bulog's employee foundation Yanatera to Abdurrahman's personal masseur Alip Agung Suwondo who allegedly acted on behalf of the President.

The President, known as Gus Dur, was questioned as witness over the case on June 23 at the presidential palace by a team of investigators from the Jakarta Police. The team was escorted by Rusdihardjo, then Jakarta Police chief Insp. Gen. Nurfaizi, Jakarta Police Detectives chief Sen. Supt. Harry Montolalu and Alex.

On Thursday, Alex dismissed media reports that the police had earlier found evidence of the President's involvement.

"The dossiers we submitted to the court showed that Gus Dur was not involved in the scandal," said Alex, who was the Jakarta Police Detectives chief when news of the scandal first broke.

"It is not true that there were two different dossiers (on the questioning of Gus Dur)," Alex said.

Media reports said the police had made two conflicting dossiers from the questioning of the President, one of which showed Gus Dur's involvement.

Contacted by phone, Rusdihardjo did not confirm nor deny reports that he had revealed Gus Dur's involvement in the case.

"I cannot disclose my statements before the special committee to the public," Rusdihardjo told the Post.

"And the special committee should not make public my statement either because it was supposed to be a closed hearing," he said.

In a separate development, Elza Syarief, a defense lawyer for Hutomo "Tommy" Mandala Putra, the youngest son of former president Soeharto, denied on Thursday that she had defamed the President concerning the latter's covert meetings with her client prior to the rejection of her client's appeal for a presidential pardon.

Elza said she had never disclosed any of the conversations during the meeting at the Borobudur Hotel in Central Jakarta on Oct. 5 or at the Regent Hotel in South Jakarta on the following day since her client has not given permission to do so.

"I only said that I know the details of the meetings from my client. Mas Tommy said that he has the tape of the conversation and witnesses, but kept the location of the tape and the witnesses' names a secret. I have yet to listen to the tape," she said.

Presidential spokesman Adhie Massardi said on Wednesday that the President, known as Gus Dur, would take legal actions against Tommy's lawyers, father-in-law Bambang Sucahyo Ajie Suryobandoro and sister Siti "Titiek" Hediati Hariyadi for defamation.

Many people suspect that during the meeting with Tommy, Gus Dur was trying to cut a deal to secure the return of the Soeharto family wealth allegedly illegally amassed during the former president's 32 years of rule.

Gus Dur has repeatedly dismissed such speculation. (bby/jaw)